Former shipping firm executive jailed 32 months for misappropriating over $200k

SINGAPORE - Using a variety of methods in 2012 and last year, a shipping firm executive tasked with handling salary and leave matters for some of the workers misappropriated more than $200,000 that did not belong to her.

The schemes hatched by Kwok Han Ying, 40, included telling her then employer that staff had clocked shifts they had not done, and taking out loans for employees who had not requested the money. She would then pocket the extra cash that had been disbursed as a result.

But it was one lie too far when Kwok called the police one day to report that she had been robbed of $34,000 meant for the workers' salaries. Under further questioning, she broke down and admitted to the deception, and all her other schemes later came to light.

On Friday, Kwok was sentenced to 32 months in jail after pleading guilty to eight of 58 charges, for multiple offences including criminal breach of trust, forgery and cheating.

The court heard that Kwok began committing the offences in 2012 - the same year she joined joined Vermont UM Shipping as a crewing executive - and acted as the middleman between the shipping crews and management.

After calculating the monthly salary due to workers and getting approval, she would cash a cheque and distribute the money.

Kwok pocketed $231,282.79 in all, using it to gamble and cover up for sums previously misappropriated. She has made $1,850 in restitution to her former employer.

She could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined for each count of criminal breach of trust. For each count of cheating her employer into handing over its property, she could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in jail and fined.

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